Combining strength and cardio is a great way to maximize your workouts. By using a tool like a medicine ball, you can save time by completing a full-body circuit without having to hop from one machine to another.
So what is a medicine ball and why do we use them? Medicine balls are weighted spheres, ranging from around four to 20 pounds. They are versatile and can be thrown, lifted, and used in a range of poses for strength conditioning.
Medicine balls are a quick, accessible way to upgrade your workout. For example, medicine balls can create an unstable surface that will challenge your core differently than standard exercises just using the ground.
Check out our 30-minute circuit workout utilizing a medicine ball. (In Uptown, grab a medicine ball in our recovery room and group ex studio. In Metairie, you will find them on the track by the ab mats.) Rest for about 10 seconds between each move. Break for water after each full circuit to stay hydrated. Repeat the full circuit three times.
Plank - 1 minute
Adding a medicine ball to a standard plank adds difficulty to this exercise that will work your core to its max. Place your hands on the ball. Keep your head above your fingertips. Extend your legs to form a plank position and hold steady on your toes. Pull your belly button into your spine, contract your core, and squeeze your glutes. Hold steady and remember to breathe. Inhale through the nose and exhale through your mouth. Modify by placing your knees on the ground for more stability. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, plank with a single leg for 30 seconds and switch to the other leg.
Push Up - 30 seconds
Follow the same form as the plank, add a push up to strengthen your chest and triceps. As you lower, squeeze your elbows into your body. To modify, drop your knees. To make this move more challenging, lift one leg as you perform push-ups and switch halfway through.
Burpees - 30 seconds
This is your first cardio blast. Place your hands on the medicine ball. Jump back into a plank position, keeping your head above your fingertips. Jump forward. Stand and push the medicine ball above your head. Modify by stepping instead of jumping. Or, leave the ball on the ground as you jump up.
Back Lunges with Rotation - 1 minute
Work your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and torso with this combo move. Holding the medicine ball, extend your arms straight out from your chest. Step back into a lunge, keeping both legs at a 90-degree angle with your torso upright. Make sure your lower body remains still and keep your eye on the ball to perform a proper spinal twist. Twist in the direction of your front leg and return to center. Step back together and alternate sides. To modify, remove the twist. To make this move more challenging, perform as a jump lunge instead of a step lunge.
Jumping Jacks - 30 seconds
Your second cardio blast uses the medicine ball to optimize traditional jumping jacks. To perform, push the medicine ball up as you jump out. Bring the medicine ball back to your chest as you bring your feet back together. To modify, step to the side instead of jumping or hold the medicine ball at your chest for the duration of the exercise.
Wall Sit with Figure 8s - 1 minute
This combo move will work your quads, hamstrings, glutes, shoulders, and even your coordination. Get into squat position against a steady wall with your legs at a 90-degree angle. Your feet should be hip-width apart, pointing straight ahead. Push your shoulders into the wall and extend the medicine ball straight from your chest. Keep your entire body stable as you draw a figure eight with the medicine ball. Reverse direction halfway through.
Skaters - 1 minute
You’ve made it to the final cardio burst in the circuit. Holding the medicine ball in front of you, perform a lateral jump, rotating toward your front leg. Alternate sides continuously for one minute to get your heart rate up. For more of a challenge, don’t let your back leg touch the ground.
Standing Overhead Tricep Extension - 30 seconds
The last move in the circuit targets your triceps. Extend the medicine ball above your head with your feet in a staggered stance to help keep your back flat. Bend your elbows and bring the ball to the bottom of your neck. Be sure to keep your elbows pointing forward and squeezed toward your head.
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